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Boeing’s historic first crewed Starliner launch scrapped after missile problem

Boeing’s historic first crewed Starliner launch scrapped after missile problem

Boeing’s hopes of blowing away some of the recent negative headlines about its brand with a historic first crewed launch of its Starliner capsule failed Monday evening when a problem with a valve on the rocket led to the flight being scrubbed.

The mission to take two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station was canceled about two hours before the scheduled launch due to a malfunction of the Atlas V rocket that would carry the capsule into orbit.

Tony Bruno, CEO of United Launch Alliance, explained at a news conference that the problem with his company’s rocket, related to an oxygen pressure relief valve in the vehicle’s upper stage, was opening and closing, causing a buzzing sound that had previously been noticed in previous, uncrewed missions.

The problem was quickly resolved on satellite launches, he said, but the company follows stricter guidelines for astronaut flights, which meant the valve could not be recycled while the crew was on board. “And so we continued to follow the rules and procedures, and as a result we scrubbed,” Bruno said, according to the Associated Press.

Boeing Space’s X account said a decision was made to have engineering teams review the data on Tuesday “and the next launch opportunity will be no earlier than Friday, May 10.”